The stereotypical men are generally portrayed to be brave, strong and independent. These are all positive stereotypes in which men are portrayed. However, some people may argue than men are portrayed more negatively than positively as other men are portrayed to be lazy, selfish and arrogant. Neither of the above is right or wrong. Not all men are brave, strong and independent. Some men can be really timid, weak and dependent. The same goes to the negative portrayals of men. Not all men are lazy, selfish and arrogant. Some men are really hardworking, unselfish and humble. There are many more positive and negative stereotypes of men but one can argue on forever about whether the stereotypical men are generally portrayed to be more positive or more negative. It all depends on the individual. If his characteristics are positive, then he is portraying men positively and if his characteristics are negative, he is portraying men in a negative way. Just because some men act negatively, it does not mean that all men should be portrayed as being negative. As a real life example, Osama bin Laden is a cruel and ruthless man. However, not all men are like him. In fact, there are very few men like him. Therefore, there is no conclusion to whether men should be portrayed as more positive or negative. In the story “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel masculinity is portrayed positively because the character of Pi is courageous, intelligent and independent.
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Piscine Molitor Patel, or better known as Pi portrays men in a positive way in the book “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel. This is because Pi is courageous. He manages to survive on board a lifeboat for 227 days with a full grown royal Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. Traditionally, a tiger would not kill a human being unless it is provoked. However, a tiger would also kill a human being and eat it when it is hungry and is not fed or treated properly. In the book, Pi runs out of food resources while on the lifeboat and he realises that if he does not get some more food, Richard Parker would have killed him for food. Pi shows his bravery and courage as he manages to survive for 227 days on board the lifeboat even though there is a full grown tiger on board the lifeboat with him. A quote in the book is, “Mr. Piscine Molitor Patel, Indian citizen, is an outstanding story of courage and endurance in the face of extraordinarily difficult and tragic circumstances” (Martel 401). This quote means that Pi is courageous and perseveres because he does not give up despite facing some obstacles in life like being stranded alone on the lifeboat and losing his family to the sinking of the Tsimtsum. Furthermore, Pi also shows courage when Richard Parker almost attacked him. When a dorado leaps onto the lifeboat, Richard Parker almost attacks Pi because he wanted to eat the dorado. Although Pi did panic a little, he showed his courage when he figured that he would look Richard Parker in the eyes to try and scare him off. As stated in the book, “And so, in a moment of insanity brought on by hunger-because I was more set on eating than I was on staying alive-without any means of defence, naked in every sense of turn, I looked Richard Parker dead in the eyes” (Martel 280). In this quote, Pi was more focused on satisfying his hunger rather than staying alive and so, without thinking Pi decides to stare Richard Parker dead in the eyes to try and scare him off. Based on an article, courage is not solely for men but is mainly for men. “Andreia” is the Greek word for courage which comes from he-man and also means manliness (Mansfield). This article states that men are portrayed to be courageous. Although courage can be portrayed by a woman, men are generally portrayed to be more courageous. In “Life of Pi”, Pi is courageous as he managed to survive on the lifeboat for 227 days with Richard Parker and he does not panic and get scared when Richard Parker almost attacked him. Therefore, Pi portrays men positively as he shows that men are courageous.
Secondly, Pi is also intelligent as he thinks of many different ways on how to survive on the lifeboat for 227 days. When Pi ran out of food, he decided to learn how to catch fish and other sea creatures from the ocean and meerkats from the island, and then eating them raw. Besides that, he drinks the seawater after filtering it using a solar still. Other than that, Pi also realises that he has to feed Richard Parker or Richard Parker would have killed him when he became hungry to satisfy his hunger. Therefore, he spent time and effort catching turtles for Richard Parker to eat, even if he does not stand to benefit much from it. As quoted in the book, “I watched sullenly as he loudly appreciated my gift and made a joyous mess of himself. I was utterly spent. The effort of butchering the turtle had hardly seemed worth the cup of blood” (Martel 255). This quote basically states that Richard Parker had enjoyed the turtles that Pi caught for him. In a way, it also states that Pi is intelligent as he caught the turtles for Richard Parker so that Richard Parker would not kill and eat him. Along with that, Pi also trains Richard Parker to make Richard Parker acknowledge that Pi is the alpha male on board the lifeboat. This is also so that Richard Parker does not kill him. As Pi quoted, “I had to devise a training program for Richard Parker. I had to make him understand that I was the top tiger and that his territory was limited to the floor of the boat, the stern bench and the side benches as far as the middle cross bench” (Martel 211). This quote shows that Pi was trying to enforce himself as the alpha male or leader on the lifeboat thus proving his intelligence because, if Richard Parker was the alpha male, Pi would have been killed and eaten by Richard Parker. Based on an article, it is generally portrayed that men are portrayed as more intelligent than women although it is not scientifically proven to be true. In a study, it was concluded that both the IQ’s of men and women are similar. However, both men and women perceive men to be smarter than women (Timothy). This states that, although men are generally portrayed as more intelligent than women, it is not scientifically proven even though both men and women perceive men are smarter than women. In “Life of Pi”, Pi Patel portrays men to be intelligent as he realises that he has to feed Richard Parker and that he has to enforce himself as the alpha male on the lifeboat.
Lastly, Pi is also independent as he manages to survive for 227 days on board the lifeboat all alone by himself with Richard Parker beside him. Pi cannot rely on anyone as Richard Parker is a full grown Bengal tiger who relies on Pi himself for food. A fact that shows that Pi is independent is that he has to look for his own food. For the first few days on board the lifeboat, there were biscuits and water at Pi’s disposal in the locker of the lifeboat. However, a person has to eat to survive and Pi is no exception. He has to look for food supplies after the food on board the lifeboat runs out. Furthermore, Pi also has to feed Richard Parker as Richard Parker is dependent on Pi for his share of the food. A quote in the book is “Dinner preparations, dinner for self and Richard Parker” (Martel 240). This quote states that Pi prepares dinner for both himself and Richard Parker. Therefore, when the food on the lifeboat ran out, Pi learns how to catch fish and turtles from the sea using his bare hands and kills them before eating them raw as quoted in the book, “I did whatever was necessary to hold a fish down until I could reach for the hatchet and chop its head off” (Martel 246). This quote means that Pi did whatever he needed to do to hold down the fish until he could kill it. This shows that Pi is independent because he learns how to catch fishes and sea turtles all by himself by reading the survivors guide which was on the lifeboat. Furthermore, he also trains Richard Parker to show that he is the alpha male in the lifeboat. A quote from the book is, “It was time to impose myself and carve out my territory” (Martel 256). This means that Pi was trying to impose that he was the alpha male or leader on the lifeboat and to show Richard Parker that the territory belonged to him. He shows that he is independent as he trains a full grown Bengal tiger all by himself. Furthermore, by training Richard Parker, Pi managed to develop a heart-warming relationship with him. George Mason, an American Patriot and delegate from Virginia, once quoted, “That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety” (Virginia). In “Life of Pi”, Pi portrays men to be independent as he does not need to rely on others to survive.
To sum up, the character of Piscine Molitor Patel, or Pi portrays masculinity in a positive way in the book “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel. He shows that men are courageous as he manages to survive for 227 days on board a lifeboat with Richard Parker, a full grown Bengal tiger. Furthermore, Pi also portrays men positively as he is intelligent. Pi thinks of ways on how to survive on a stranded lifeboat for 227 days after the emergency rations in his locker runs out. Moreover, he also shows that men are independent and that they do not need to rely on others. Pi manages to fend for himself and survive on the lifeboat. Moreover, He also trains Richard Parker and shows that he is the alpha male on the lifeboat. All in all, the book “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel is a book that portrays men in a positive way because Pi’s characteristics show the positive stereotypes of men.
Word count: 1766 words
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